Evaluating bacterial community structures in oil collected from the sea surface and sediment in the northern Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Article first published online: 9 APR 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Microbiology Open published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Volume 2, Issue 3, pages 492–504, June 2013
How to Cite
MicrobiologyOpen 2013; 2(3): 492–504
- Issue published online: 7 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 9 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 MAR 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 27 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Received: 5 DEC 2012
- National Science Foundation Chemical Oceanography Program. Grant Number: OCE-1042908
- Gulf Research Initiative
- Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award (Z.L.)
Vol. 2, Issue 4, 715, Article first published online: 12 AUG 2013
- Alphaproteobacteria ;
- bacteria community structure;
- Deepwater Horizon oil spill;
- Gammaproteobacteria ;
- oil mousse;
- petroleum hydrocarbons;
Bacterial community structures were evaluated in oil samples using culture-independent pyrosequencing, including oil mousses collected on sea surface and salt marshes during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and oil deposited in sediments adjacent to the wellhead 1 year after the spill. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that Erythrobacter, Rhodovulum, Stappia, and Thalassospira of Alphaproteobacteria were the prevailing groups in the oil mousses, which may relate to high temperatures and strong irradiance in surface Gulf waters. In the mousse collected from the leaves of Spartina alterniflora, Vibrio of Gammaproteobacteria represented 57% of the total operational taxonomic units, suggesting that this indigenous genus is particularly responsive to the oil contamination in salt marshes. The bacterial communities in oil-contaminated sediments were highly diversified. The relatively high abundance of the Methylococcus, Methylobacter, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Chlorofexi bacteria resembles those found in certain cold-seep sediments with gas hydrates. Bacterial communities in the overlying water of the oil-contaminated sediment were dominated by Ralstonia of Betaproteobacteria, which can degrade small aromatics, and Saccharophagus degradans of Gammaproteobacteria, a cellulose degrader, suggesting that overlying water was affected by the oil-contaminated sediments, possibly due to the dissolution of small aromatics and biosurfactants produced during biodegradation. Overall, these results provided key information needed to evaluate oil degradation in the region and develop future bioremediation strategies.